The waiting is over, and one of the most hotly-anticipated Badmintons in years is underway, with the trot-up and first horse inspection held in welcome sunshine.
The 10 New Zealand combinations were immaculately turned out and groomed to perfection, with Ginny Thompson especially turning heads with her striking peasant-look layered black mesh skirt paired with a sleeveless cream high-necked top. Her mare ‘Paige’ meanwhile, looked pretty thrilled to find herself trotting up in front of Badminton House!
The other Kiwi newcomer to Badminton, Andy Daines, was dapper in a sky blue jacket and navy trousers, teamed with a blue-and-white spotted shirt and contrasting French blue tie.
Most of the older Kiwi contingent went for more conservative looks – Andrew Nicholson sticking to his lucky olive tweed jacket, while Sir Mark Todd, Tim Price and Dan Joeclyn all chose traditional dark suits.
Jonelle Price and Caroline Powell both cut stylish figures on the trot-up track; Jonelle teaming a ruffled mid-sleeved top with an embroidered, multi-print knee-length skirt, while Caroline rocked her tall lace-up brown boots with a military-style Prince of Wales check coat and white jeans.
All 79 horse and rider combinations, from 12 nations, were passed by the Ground Jury of Sue Baxter, Christoph Hess and Katrin Eichinger Knieley; though Tom Crisp’s horse, Cooly Luxury, was sent to the hold box, he was passed on reinspection for the British rider.
But there was plenty of excitement for the watching crowds in the form of some outstanding fashion choices; notably Harry Meade’s lime green trousers.
Italy’s Giovanni Ugolotti (in full military outfit) and Brit Lydia Hannon won the prizes in the Hi-Ho Silver best-dressed competition.
Now the action switches to dressage, with the guinea pig test starting at 8.10pm New Zealand time, followed by the first rider, Caroline Powell aboard Up Up and Away.
Andrew Nicholson and Nereo are out at 8.54pm, followed two horses later by Sir Mark and Leonidas II at 9.10pm.
Dan Jocelyn is out at 10.26pm, then it’s a long wait for New Zealand fans until 1.24am, when Andy Daines and Spring Panorama do their test, immediately followed by Michael Jung and La Biosthetique Sam FBW. Two horses later, Tim Price rides Ringwood Sky Boy.
The final Kiwi rider on the first day of dressage is Ginny Thompson; she and Star Nouveau are up at 3.12am. We’ll be wishing everybody the very best of luck from the other side of the world!